1960 Revisited - June 24-29

Wednesday, June 30 2010 @ 06:30 pm UTC

Contributed by: Bobster

By Bobster

June 24-29, 1960

Friday, June 24, 1960---Vinegar Bend Mizell, who was 1-3 with the Cardinals prior to being traded to the Bucs a month earlier, ran his record with the Pirates (40-22) to 3-1 with a complete game 4-1 victory over the slumping Cubs (23-36). It was his first complete game of the season. The loss went to 20-year old Dick Ellsworth (3-5), the Cubs rookie who had dominated the Pirates on May 4th. It was the Cubs 8th straight loss. Mizell scattered 7 hits with 2 walks and 5 Ks. He also went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Singles by Cimoli and Hoak (sandwiched around a walk to Smith) and Mizell produced a pair of runs in the 2nd. Singles by Cimoli and Mazeroski (sandwiched around a walk to Hoak) and Mizell produced 2 more in the 6th. Clemente (.333) snapped a 14-for-62 slump (a .226 clip) by going 3-for-4. Smith (.314), Cimoli (.308), Hoak (.270) and Mizell (.167) each had 2 hits. Outfielder Joe Christopher made his first start of the season for the Pirates, batting lead-off, and went hitless in 4 at bats as Bob Skinner was given the day off. The Cubsí Frank Thomas was ejected in the 7th inning. Thomas was on 2nd base and argued that a ball was trapped by Pirate catcher Hal Smith when the home plate umpire ruled Smith caught the ball in the air for an out. Thomas, now a Cub, had played only one season in Cincinnati. After his monstrous 1958 season for the Pirates, the Reds had traded 3 productive veterans in Burgess, Hoak and Haddix to acquire the slugging Thomas.

The Reds also received prospect John Powers, veteran utility guy Jim Pendleton and minor league pitcher Whammy Douglas, none of whom ever became key players for the Reds. But Thomas slumped badly for the Reds in 1959, hitting only .225 with 12 HRs and 47 RBIs. After that season, the Reds traded him to the Cubs. But Thomas would hit only .238 for the Cubs in 1960 with 21 HRs. The Cubs would trade him to the Braves in 1961, who would trade him to the Mets in 1962, where Thomas would have a productive season with 34 HRs and 94 RBIs before again tailing off after that season. The Pirates' trade of Thomas to the Reds for Burgess, Hoak and Haddix would go down as one of the best deals in the history of the franchise.

Starting lineup:
Christopher LF
Groat SS
Clemente RF
Stuart 1B
Cimoli CF
Smith C
Hoak 3B
Mazeroski 2B
Mizell P.

Saturday, June 25, 1960---The last-place Cubs (23-37) observed the anniversary of Custerís Last Stand by going down to defeat for the 9th consecutive time with a 7-6 loss to the Pirates (41-22). The Cubs took a 1-run lead in the 1st against Joe Gibbon when Richie Ashburn singled and scored on a double by Frank Thomas. But the Pirates came back with 3 in the bottom of the 1st against Moe Drabowsky, who lasted only 5 batters. Virdon singled, Groat tripled, Skinner struck out, Nelson singled and Clemente singled. That was all for Drabowsky, who was relieved by Bob Anderson. A single by Hoak drove in Nelson with the third run before the inning ended. The Pirates lost Clemente in the third inning when he was injured trying to beat out a double play grounder. Cimoli replaced him in RF for the 4th inning. The Cubs took a 4-3 lead with 3 runs in the 4th, and Gibbon gave way to Paul Giel. Giel (1-0) pitched 2 2/3 perfect innings and got his first win when the Bucs got 3 more runs against Anderson (2-4) in the 6th. Cimoli led off the 6th with a walk and scored the tie run on a triple by Burgess. Hoak then singled to make it 5-4. Mazeroski singled Hoak to second and Bob Anderson was relieved by Don Elston. Gene Baker (.222) batted for Giel and singled Hoak home to make it 6-4. The Cubs narrowed it to 6-5 with a run off Fred Green in the 7th, but Smoky Burgess got the run back with a sac fly in the bottom of the 7th after Rocky Nelson had tripled. Elroy Face pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, picked up save #10, and even got his first hit of the season. The Pirates got 2 hits apiece from Virdon (.224), Groat (.347), Nelson (.286), Hoak (.270) and Mazeroski (.258). The Pirates had 3 triples in the game (Nelson, Groat, Burgess). This game marked the beginning of what would essentially be a lefty-righty platoon at 1B for the next two months of the season between Nelson and Stuart. Stuartís average had dipped to .232 (49-for-211) with 8 HRs and 36 RBIs. The 35-year-old Nelson entered the game 14-for-53 with 1 HR and 7 RBIs. The Bucs had a 3Ĺ lead over second-place Milwaukee.

Starting lineup:
Virdon CF
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Nelson 1B
Clemente RF
Burgess C
Hoak 3B
Mazeroski 2B
Gibbon P.

Sunday, June 26, 1960---A day after the Pirates gave Chicago its 9th straight loss, they dropped a doubleheader to the last-place Cubs. And the Cubs did it the hard way---against Friend and Law. But the Pirates were without the injured Clemente, as Cimoli played right field in both games. The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second when Virdon and Groat singled and Skinnerís sac fly scored Virdon. The Bucs made it 2-0 in the fourth when Rocky Nelson doubled, stole third base and scored on Smithís ground out. It was Nelsonís only steal of the season, his 7th career steal, the last one of his career, and his first in 9 years. Perhaps the rare sight of Nelson stealing distracted Friend (9-4) because he immediately gave up 6 runs in the top of the fifth. The Cubsí 6-run rally consisted of 2 singles, a K, another single, a double, an intentional walk, a sac fly, another intentional walk and a double before Bennie Daniels relieved Friend and got the final out. Daniels pitched 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief, and Jim Umbricht pitched a scoreless 8th before giving up a run in the top of the 9th to put the Cubs up 7-2. The Pirates mounted a comeback in their half of the 9th with 4 runs when Cimoli walked and scored on Smithís double, Hoak singled, Smith scored on a wild pitch, and Smokey Burgess hit a 2-out, 2-run pinch hit homer (his 5th HR of the year) to make it 7-6. Virdon then followed with a triple. But Groat flied out to end the game as the rally fell short and the Cubs prevailed 7-6. Virdon (.233) had 2 of the Piratesí 8 hits.

Danielsí perfect relief stint lowered his ERA to 7.81. But it was the last game he would ever pitch in a Pirates uniform. Daniels had been on the pitching staff for the entire 1959 season with a 5.45 ERA after 12 spot starts and 22 relief appearances. He had been on the 1960 roster since opening day and made 6 starts with a starting ERA of 7.22 and 4 relief appearances with a relief ERA of 8.49. In 1961, after the expansion Washington Senators had drafted Bobby Shantz from the Yankees, the Pirates traded Daniels, Harry Bright and R.C. Stevens to the Senators for Shantz. Daniels became a member of the Senators starting rotation for the next 5 years, but never topped his 1961 season, going 12-11 with a 3.44 ERA for Washington (and even hit 2 home runs). Rookie Jim Umbrichtís ERA now stood at 5.80.

Game 1 Starting lineup:
Virdon CF
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Nelson 1B
Cimoli RF
Smith C
Hoak 3B
Mazeroski 2B
Friend P.

In the second game, the Pirates (41-24) again took a 2-0 lead with runs in the 1st and 3rd innings against Don Cardwell. Walks to Virdon and Nelson and a single buy Cimoli plated the first run. Nelsonís 2nd HR of the year made it 2-0 in the third. But the Cubs got a run against Law (11-3) in the 4th and 4 more in the 6th to take a 5-2 lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Pirates scored 3 in the bottom of the 6th to tie it 5-5. The 6th began with a walk to Burgess and a 2-run HR by Hoak (#6). Law tripled and Cardwell was replaced by Seth Morehead. Morehead proceeded to throw a wild pitch, scoring Law to tie the game. But in the 8th inning, singles by George Altman, Ron Santo and Morehead (1-0) led to 2 more runs, and the Cubs won the game 7-5. Cimoli (.312) and Law (.167) each had 2 hits. Hoak (.279) and Nelson (.313) had 3 hits apiece, including a HR. Hoak was on another hot streak: 10-for-21.

With right-handers starting both games of the twin bill, Rocky Nelson played 1B and batted clean-up in both contests. And he took advantage to repay Danny Murtaughís faith in him. Nelson had a double and a stolen base in game 1, and 3 hits with the HR in game 2.

Don Cardwell, the Cubsí starter, had pitched a no-hitter against the Cardinals about 6 weeks earlier on May 15th, 1960. In that game, he walked 1 and faced only 28 batters, one over the minimum. After a one-out walk in the second inning (which ultimately cost him a perfect game), Cardwell retired the last 26 Cardinals in a row.

After the 1962 season, Cardwell would be traded to the Pirates along with infielder Julio Gotay for Dick Groat and Diomedes Olivo. Cardwell won 13 games for the Pirates in 1963 (13-15, 3.07 ERA) and again in 1965 (13-10, 3.18 ERA). But Cardwell never became the star pitcher the Pirates hoped for when he was traded for the very popular and productive Groat. And with Groat having a stand-out year for the Cardinals in 1963, hitting .319, Cardwell was aware of the unpopular nature of the trade in Pittsburgh. When they faced each other on September 6, 1963 at Forbes Field, Cardwell opened the first inning by retiring Julian Javier on a grounder to Mazeroski and then hitting Groat, the second Cardinalsí batter of the game. Groat believed Cardwell hit him purposely out of frustration from hearing criticism about the trade.

Game 2 Starting lineup:
Virdon CF
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Nelson 1B
Cimoli RF
Burgess C
Hoak 3B
Mazeroski 2B
Law P.

Monday, June 27, 1960---The Pirates were off as they awaited the SF Giants at Forbes Field. They made two roster moves. Bennie Daniels and Jim Umbricht were optioned to AAA and right hand pitchers Tom Cheney and Earl Francis were called up. Dick Groat led the Pirates with a .338 average, followed by Clemente at .332. Bob Skinner led the team with 9 HRs. Bill Mazeroski and Dick Stuart were next with 8. Clemente (49) and Skinner (42) led the team in RBIs.

Elroy Face (5-3) was the teamís ERA leader at 2.55 and their save leader with 10. Bob Friend was 9-4 with a 2.58 ERA, Law was 11-3 with a 2.66 ERA and Vinegar Bend Mizell was 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA since joining the Pirates. Harvey Haddix was 4-4 with a 3.84 ERA. Rookie Joe Gibbon, who was now a spot-starter since the acquisition of Mizell, was 3-2 while his ERA had climbed to 5.01. Spot starters were important because the Bucs had already played 5 double-headers and would play 11 more before the season was over.

Tuesday, June 28, 1960---On a rainy Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, the Giants routed Harvey Haddix in the first inning with 4 runs on 3 singles and 2 triples (by Felipe Alou and Andre Rodgers). Paul Giel took over for Haddix in the 1st. But the Pirates stormed right back when Rocky Nelson hit a 3-run HR (his 3rd) in the bottom of the first after a Groat walk and a Skinner single. Willie Maysí RBI single off Giel in the 2nd put the Giants up 5-3. But the Pirates tied it 5-5 in the third on singles by Bill Virdon and Dick Groat, a ground out by Bob Skinner to advance the runners, a wild pitch, and Roberto Clementeís RBI single. The Giants took a 6-5 lead against Giel in the fourth, but the Pirates tied it 6-6 in the fifth with Nelson driving in the tie run with a double after Groat had singled and advanced to second on a ground out. Joe Gibbon blanked SF through the fifth and sixth innings, but the Giants took a 7-6 lead with a run in the 7th before Elroy Face and Fred Green shut down SFís attack over the least 2 innings. Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Skinner and Dick Stuart walked and Clemente singled to tie the game at 7-7. When the ball was bobbled in the outfield, Stuart took 3rd and Clemente took 2nd. Smoky Burgess was intentionally walked to set up a bases loaded, no out situation. But Jack Sanford got Don Hoak on a pop up, and Bill Mazeroskiís grounder forced pinch-runner Dick Schofield at the plate. Pinch-hitter Hal Smith then struck out with the score still tied 7-7. Because of several rain delays, totaling 1ľ hours, and the additional 3 hours and 19 minutes it had taken to play 9 innings, the Pirates and Giants ran into the 12:50 a.m. curfew. The umpires called the game a tie after 9 innings. The statistics counted but the game had to be replayed in its entirety. So the Pirates would be credited with playing 155 games in 1960.

Clemente (.337) had 3 hits in the contest. Virdon (.240), Groat (.340) and Nelson (.333) had 2 hits each.

Starting lineup:
Virdon CF
Groat SS
Skinner LF
Nelson 1B
Clemente RF
Burgess C
Hoak 3B
Mazeroski 2B
Haddix P.

Wednesday, June 29, 1960---Rain continued to be a problem in Pittsburgh. One day after rain delays resulted in a 9-9 tie, the Pirates/Giants game was postponed. The Giants were in 3rd place, 6 games behind the Pirates (41-24). The Braves were in 2nd place, 2Ĺ games back. The Pirates and Giants would play a doubleheader the next day. Bob Friend (9-4) would oppose Jack Sanford (6-5) and Vinegar Bend Mizell (3-1 as a Pirate, 4-4 overall) would face Mike McCormick (9-3).


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